Summary: Part 1 of a study on the change in the priesthood, when it happened, and how it relates to the modern Christian. (Adapted from a study given by Dr. Perry Stone.)
This morning we are going to start a new Bible Study Series of teachings, which I’ve entitled The Code of the Priest. Every once in a while I like to study and dig out knew information in the Bible that helps us to receive a bigger picture of the God we serve and how He works in our lives. This series is designed to strengthen your knowledge and understand of God’s Word and how He interacts with His children. This morning we are going to start laying some of the groundwork for this study that will take us from Abraham in the book of Genesis to Jesus’ walk on this earth in the Gospels to our future positions in eternity as seen in the book of Revelation. I hope you enjoy this series as much as I did preparing for it.
You will also notice that in the insert that I’ve placed in the bulletins that have the scripture references on it, we are going to be looking at a lot of scripture. I would encourage you to take the time to read these references for yourself at home and to study them and familiarize yourself with them so that you will have a deeper understanding of what we are going to be studying in the next few weeks. You may even want to read them in the New International Version of the Bible for clearer and simpler understanding, especially the entire seventh chapter of Hebrews. Now having said that let’s get into our study.
Many Christians who are the least bit familiar with the Bible know about the priesthood of Aaron. At the time of the nation of Israel’s Exodus from Egypt and the setting up of the Tabernacle in the wilderness, God provided a way for His people to come to Him and be forgiven of sins through offerings by the priests. The priests, who were descendants of Moses’ brother Aaron and members of the tribe of Levi, were chosen to act as go-betweens for the people as they approached God on their behalf.
But how many of you are aware that the Bible talks about another priesthood? It’s a rather mysterious and sometimes misunderstood priesthood found first in the book of Genesis, mentioned prophetically in the book of Psalm, and finally explained by the author of the book of Hebrews. It is the Melchizedek priesthood.
Let’s take a look in the book of Genesis and the 14th chapter where the name Melchizedek is first introduced. Reading from Genesis 14:18-20 (KJV), “ And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.  And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of Heaven and earth:  And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.”
Genesis 14 is a chapter from the family history of the origins of Israel. It tells the story of how Abraham’s nephew, Lot, was swept up into the military doings of the ancient world and of how Abraham himself played a role in that history.
If you remember the story, Lot and Abraham parted company because their households and herds were getting too large to remain combined. Uncle Abraham gave Lot free reign to choose whichever part of the land he wished, and Lot chose the Valley of Siddum, known today as the Dead Sea. But it was not dead in that day. Rather, it was a lush, fertile valley, reminiscent of the Garden of Eden. Lot settled in a city located in that valley called Sodom. Abraham turned and went in the opposite direction.
Then a day came when a messenger arrived at the tent of Abraham with terrible news. A coalition of kings from the east had invaded and taken Sodom and enslaved all of its inhabitants – including Lot and his family. Abraham immediately organized a rescue party. In a brazen display of courage and faith, he catches up with the raiders and attacks them by night, putting them to route and recovering not only his nephew, but all the wealth and all the citizens of Sodom.
However, the most unusual part of this tale took place on the return journey. It was here that Abraham was met by a new figure; a mysterious priest-king known as Melchizedek. The Scriptures tell us that they met, that Melchizedek brought bread and wine and a blessing, and that Abraham rewarded him with a tenth of all. And that is it, the end of the story. Melchizedek is not mentioned again in the rest of Genesis nor anywhere in any of the historical books of the Old Testament.
So, just who is this mysterious figure and what is so important about him that God included this short story about him in His Holy Word to us?